Say what you will about the films of Tony Scott, but there's no denying that the man stayed true to his creative id throughout his career. Apparently battling depression (and inoperable brain cancer, reports indicate), Scott took his own life early Sunday when he jumped off a bridge near Long Beach, Calif.
But even if his personal life ended battling personal demons, Scott's career remained as vibrant at its end as it was at the beginning. Talent and stylishness ran in his family, too, it seemed. The younger brother of fellow director and producing partner, Ridley Scott, the British-born filmmaker was the cinematic progeny of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. They brought Scott on to direct “Top Gun” and thus was born the contemporary Hollywood blockbuster.
What remained, though, is an energy and exuberance for filmmaking that, even in his late 60s, would run circles around filmmakers half Scott's age. Scott may have preferred style over substance, but there are few filmmakers with a style as distinct and immediately recognizable as Scott's.
His work, in addition to helping define an era of cinema, was also essential in helping to launch the careers of two of cinema's biggest names: Michael Bay and Quentin Tarantino. Without Scott blazing the trail via Simpson/Bruckheimer, we'd have never gotten Bay. (Go back and watch the first “Bad Boys,” it feels remarkably like a '90s-era Scott film.) Scott bringing Tarantino's “True Romance” script to violent, kinetic life was arguably as important to boosting Tarantino's early career as “Reservoir Dogs.”
No matter your opinion on his films, Scott was a passionate filmmaker and he will be missed.